Physicians show muscle again and demand specific improvements for their union

On the street they have been less than yesterday, but that has not affected the hospital and primary care center (PCC) shutdown. in Catalonia. Some 5,000 physicians, according to the Guàrdia Urbana (on Wednesday there were 9,500), took to the streets of Barcelona today to. To demand improvements in welfare and wages.

This second day of strike have seconded it practically the same physicians as yesterday, because, in the morning shift, he has had a 70% of the total number of participants according to the trade union Metges de Catalunya (MC) and of around 30%. according to the Conselleria de Salut (27% in hospitals and 33% in CAP).

Once again plunged in a festive and vindictive atmosphere, the doctors have concentrated this Thursday at 10 a.m. at Sant Jaume square, they walked along Via Laietana and arrived at the Parliament, where they heard the soundtrack of the movie ‘Titanic’, alluding to the collapse of public health care. The union, which has called for the mobilization of about 25,000 doctors in the Catalan public health system, has been clearer than ever in its demands.

“The demographic crisis is medical and must provide specific solutions for the collective. There must be a specific outlet for physicians and the Govern can do it,” said the secretary general of Metges de Catalunya, Xavier Lleonart, from the Parliament. Lleonart has said that the union will also support the general measures to improve public health care. but today, without ambiguity, he has openly requested specific improvements for his guild. In the next decade in Catalonia 9,000 doctors will retire for whom there is no replacement.

And these improvements have to do with the quality of care, but also with the salary. The union demands to put a cap on physicians’ schedules (Salut is more in favor of self-organization) and to receive a direct complement in the payrolls without going through any negotiating table, according to the ‘conselleria’. The department sees fair this salary increase, as the deputy director of the Catalan Health Service (CatSalut), Alfredo Garcia, but does not share the forms.

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Precisely this position on the part of the medical profession has been the one that has led others healthcare workers, such as nurses and auxiliaries, to mount demonstrations these days separate from those of the doctors, albeit called by minority unions that have not had the pull of Metges de Catalunya.

“We neither cry nor bill: we emigrate.”

At 10 o’clock in the morning, a thousand doctors were already gathered in Sant Jaume square. Some were grouped by specialties: pediatricians, gynecologists, dentists, clinical psychologists, oncologists… ‘To mistreat pediatrics is to mistreat children’, ‘We dentists are healthcare’, ‘Primary gynecologists in danger of extinction’ have been some of the posters they carried.

There have also been some banners in a more amusing tone, such as the one that read. ‘We doctors no longer cry or bill: we emigrate’, alluding to Shakira’s latest song about her breakup with Gerard Piqué. She was not the only one: ‘Clearly it splashes all of us’, read another banner carried by a group of clinical psychologists. They, although not physicians, are also part of the public health system.

Some of the chants that have been heard are. ‘Aragonès, de quina mutua ets’, as well as ‘I tu, Balcells, de quina mutua ets?’. The increase in private mutuals is one of the concerns of the medical profession, since it has to do with the loss of confidence of the population in the public health system due to the lack of resources. In a city like Barcelona, for example, 40% of the population already has a private mutual (historical maximum), while growing the discontent with primary care (increasingly precarious), as revealed by the latest city council health survey.

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“Successful convening.”

After 12:00 noon, the doctors’ demonstration reached the Parliament, where they have been greeted by deputies of the ‘comuns’ (Jèssica Albiach, David Cid), of the PSC (Assumpta Escarp, Beatriz Silva) and of the CUP (Eulàlia Reguant). There, as a culmination to the march, the doctors have raised some disposable white coats and threw them on the floor in protest.

“The image is quite evident. It has once again been a successful in terms of convocation. More than half of the medical staff working in Catalonia is here and the other half is on minimum services. Now it is clear to them that we are angry and cohesive”, Lleonart pointed out to the media. He called for “solutions now”.

Tomorrow Friday at 12 noon the union will meet again with Salut, but Lleonart has already advanced that, given the success of the call, the offer from the ‘conselleria’ must be even better than that of Tuesday, when the last negotiation between the parties took place. According to union sources, there is every reason to think that tomorrow nothing will be closed and negotiations will continue on Monday in order to avoid the strike also scheduled for February 1, 2 and 3.

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